There is drama in Washington D.C. over Obamacare fraud committed by none other than Congress itself, and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is right in the middle of it.
Back in 2010, as Obamacare was being driven through Congress by President Barack Obama and the Democrat majority, Republicans managed to stick what was called the Grassley amendment. That legislation requires that members of Congress and their staff get their health insurance through an Obamacare exchange.
The thinking being that if the rest of America has to eat that crap sandwich, Congress should too.
The thing is, members of Congress and their higher-paid staff got subsidies for their insurance policies which they wouldn’t be able to access if they had to go through the exchange. Unless, that is, Congress some how managed to qualify as a small business.
And that’s exactly what happened. Brendan Bordelon at National Review reports that someone submitted an application to the Obama administration describing Congress as a small business and thus able to keep their subsidies.
But Congress, which has 435 members in the House alone not counting staff, is not a small business. A small business under the law has less than 50 employees. So how did Congress pull that off?
Someone committed fraud:
The application said Congress employed just 45 people. Names were faked; one employee was listed as “First Last,” another simply as “Congress.” To Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter, who has fought for years against the Obamacare exemption, it was clear that someone in Congress had falsified the document in order to make lawmakers and their staff eligible for taxpayer subsidies provided under the exchange for small-business employees.
But until Vitter got a green light from the Small Business Committee to subpoena the unredacted application from the District of Columbia health exchange, it would be impossible to determine who in Congress gave it a stamp of approval.
Setting aside for a moment all of the politics surrounding Obamacare, setting aside the fact that it is horrendous public policy that has made health insurance more expensive and harder to get for millions of Americans, the fact is that it is currently the law. And Congress, with clear assist from the Obama administration, is breaking the law.
Now, Vitter wants to subpoena an unredacted version of the application to find out who, exactly, authorized this fraud. But to do that he needs a majority vote of his committee.
There was some drama on the Republican side as Senator Rand Paul (of all people) refused to vote for the subpoena (the thinking is that he’s covering for fellow Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, but who knows).
More interesting for North Dakotans is the fact that Senator Heidi Heitkamp, one of the 19 members of Vitter’s committee, also voted against the subpoena with the rest of her party.
Yes, the woman who told North Dakotans during her 2012 campaign that she’d be “independent” in Washington DC and eschew partisan politics-as-usual voted with her fellow Democrats to quash a subpoena which would have revealed fraud likely perpetrated by high-ranking Congressional officials.
Senator Heitkamp doesn’t bother to answer my questions, but one of the many reporters and talk show hosts who read this blog should think about asking her for an explanation of that vote.
This isn’t a partisan issue (or it shouldn’t be, anyway), and this wasn’t even a policy vote. This was a vote to uncover fraud, and Heitkamp voted to keep it covered.